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Getting Healesville CoRE on the radar with Sustainability Victoria

Getting Healesville CoRE on the radar with Sustainability Victoria and connecting with other community renewable energy groups in Victoria.

Meeting between Sustainability Victoria, YR Council, and H’CoRE on Monday 23 September 2019

Very positive feedback to Healesville CoRE from Sustainability Victoria and from the YR Council for the work we are doing. This meeting was a great opportunity for Healesville CoRE to inform this government department about our work and to hear about the work Sustainability Victoria is doing to support community energy groups throughout Victoria – from setting up communication infrastructure so we can all ‘talk’ to each other online (what they call a ‘Community of Practice’) to working to establish a ‘Collective Impact Strategy’ with government, councils and community groups working together to achieve common goals.

This two hour, very constructive meeting was attended by three reps from Healesville CoRE: Sean O’Sullivan, Simon Prunster and Jeff Barlow; three reps from Sustainability Victoria and two reps from the YR Council Sustainability Team.

The Collective Impact Framework was discussed but it became clear this is a concept at the very early stages of development for Sustainability Victoria. They only have 5 staff and they are trying to do things differently from the way Government usually goes about engaging with the community, where Govt usually employs a top down approach. Sustainability Victoria is trying to explore the possibility of a more horizontal approach with more connectivity between government, councils and communities.

Healesville CoRE received some very positive feedback with Sustainability Victoria being impressed and confident in the quality of our work and the professional approach we are using. They receive our newsletter and think it looks professional, with excellent content. This was reaffirmed by Julian Guess from Council.

We explained the problem that volunteers cannot be expected to decarbonise Australia, that we are overworked with the enormity of the task we face and that we are of the view, as they are, that it will take a collective approach to achieve Net Zero for Healesville and for the Yarra Ranges.

They were impressed with the admin infrastructure we have set up with CiviCRM software and the move to using Google’s G-Suite for our other admin software. They wanted to look at what we have set up in CiviCRM to see how it works and to see if it could be rolled out to other community energy groups who are reporting to Sustainability Victoria that they are having admin problems.

They could see from our presentation how CiviCRM could be scaled up to be used across the Yarra Ranges. They also understood the problem of not enough volunteer labour to do all the work required and the need for finance to employ an administrator and to hire professional support for the CiviCRM software. We are hopeful that if the Victorian Government provides funding for community renewable energy groups that Healesville CoRE might also be included.

We are clearly on the radar for Sustainability Victoria, they see the good work we are doing with very limited resources, that we have great potential, that we need financial support, and they and Council can see how H’CoRE could be scaled up to roll out a program across other community groups all over the Yarra Ranges with a view to establishing many community energy groups. I explained how we need to research ways of creating deep community penetration for action and how we can use the findings to apply across the Yarra Ranges. In all, a very positive meeting.